Harry Hale (front) and some of his many football friends at a function in Alfie Hale’s last year.

Harry Hale (front) and some of his many football friends at a function in Alfie Hale’s last year.

Football followers, and indeed people from many walks of life, said goodbye to Harry Hale last weekend. Harry passed away on Wednesday last, April 16th, following an illness which he bore with great dignity.

Just like his brothers, Alfie, Dixie (Richard) and the late Georgie, he devoted a lot of his life to the beautiful game with style and grace. He played for Waterford’s oldest club, the famed St Joseph’s, in the Waterford Junior and Schoolboy Leagues. He also performed superbly with Tycor FC in winning the Munster Senior League with players such as Noel Breen, John Jacques, Mickey Croke, Thomas Sinnott and Teddy Brett.

Harry was an outstanding schoolboy footballer also and was capped for the Republic of Ireland at Under 15 level in 1952. On one famous occasion he captained Tycor against Drumcondra in the FAI Senior Cup, a game Drums won 1-0 but it was Harry’s display at the heart of the defence which really stood out that day.

He played for Waterford FC and although he did not attract the media headlines that Alfie, Dixie and Georgie got he always gave his all while wearing the famous Blue shirt.

He was the Waterford FC captain when the club won their first ever League of Ireland title in season 1965-’66 and was also skipper of the Waterford Inter-League team which won the inaugural Oscar Traynor Cup in 1964. That team was as follows: Monny Nolan, Dominic Deegan, Willie Walsh, Gene Roche, Mattie Daly, Gerry Carew, John Sheehan, Eddie Butler, Richie Elliott, Buddy Purcell and Harry Hale.

Not only was Harry the first Waterford player to lift the famous trophy but he was also the first ever captain to do so given it was in the competition’s inaugural year.

He also played for another of Waterford’s most renowned clubs, Hibernians, who benefited from his skill and class in defence. A big strong defender, Harry Hale was a gentle giant off the field as those people lucky enough to have worked with him at the Waterford Iron Foundry would testify.

In recent years he got great joy working in Alfie’s Sport Shop in Arundel Square. His presence there was a joy to behold because he was helpful and courteous both to his colleagues and customers. From time to time he also worked in Alfie’s Bar in Lombard Street and again his pleasant personality was appreciated by all.

Although he will be sadly missed by football lovers in Waterford, his passing will be felt even more deeply by his heartbroken wife, Kathleen and his three children, John, Richard and Jean, and his grandchildren.

When Harry was laid to rest on Saturday last, Waterford bid farewell to one of its greatest ever football ambassadors, and that was clear to see by the huge concourse of mourners who were present to say goodbye, at least for now.

There is no doubt that he was welcomed with open arms in heaven, because men like Harry Hale are few and far between. He will be sadly missed. May his gentle soul rest in glorious peace.

Harry Hale’s Blues Record

  • Season 1964-65:

15 League of Ireland games.

8 Shield games.

One Dublin City Cup game.

One FAI Cup game. Total 25 games.

  • Season 1965-66:

4 League of Ireland games.

6 Shield games.

One Munster Senior Cup game.

One Dublin City Cup game.

One Dublin City Cup game.

Total 12 games.

  • Season 1966-67:

6 League of Ireland games.

9 Shield games.

One Dublin City Cup game.

Second leg of European Cup away

to Vorwearts (Germany).

Total games 18.